Same-sex couples involved in the lawsuit in Indiana appear at a news conference.
(Photo Courtesy: Indiana Public Broadcasting)
October 06, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In Indiana

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is reaffirming his commitment to traditional marriage but says he will follow the law regarding unions of same-sex couples. 

Pence said in a statement Monday that people are free to disagree over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject an appeal of a ruling striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban, along with similar appeals in four other states. But he says people are not free to disobey the decision.  

County clerks in Indiana are beginning to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court's order.  

Pence urges Indiana residents to continue to demonstrate civility and ``respect the beliefs of all people in our state.''  

Meanwhile, supporters of same-sex marriage in Indiana say they are ``ecstatic'' about the ruling.

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said Monday that the high court's decision not to hear the appeals means same-sex marriage ``is now a reality'' in Indiana.  

He says same-sex marriages can now legally resume in the state, but he expects it to take several days for many county clerks to begin issuing licenses.  

Falk spoke at a news conference Monday at ACLU-Indiana's office in Indianapolis. He was joined by same-sex couples who took part in the original lawsuit challenging Indiana's ban of their marriages.

Among them were Melody Betterman-Layne and her wife Tara, who were out shopping when they got a message from their attorneys, telling them their marriage was once again legal in their home state.  Tara says at first she was disappointed the Supreme Court didn’t issue a broader ruling for the whole country.  Melody says she was flabbergasted…but excited:

Organizations who have treated us unfairly because they could, because the state of Indiana said that was okay, will not be able to do that anymore – that’s what I’m crowing a little bit about inside today”, said Melody.

Hundreds of same-sex couples were married across the state after a federal judge struck down Indiana's s ban in June.  

The Indiana attorney general's office says it will communicate with county clerks to minimize chaos and confusion at local courthouses.  

Those on the other side of the same-sex marriage debate were disappointed by the Supreme Court's announcement.

American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark says it’s a bad day for Hoosier children:

“This is a strike at the truth that children need a mom and a dad, that marriage is a union of not just any two people but a union of the two sexes", said Clark.

But the Supreme Court did not issue a broad ruling for the country; it simply chose not to hear the cases before it, leaving other cases still in the federal court system in limbo.  Indiana Family Institute public policy director Ryan McCann says the issue is still an open question:

“I think you could still see the U-S Supreme Court act on this in the future", said McCann. "I just think it’s unworkable, the situation that we have now, where states are kind of left to not know exactly what the guidance is.”

Meanwhile, Missouri attorney general Chris Koster, announced Monday that he wouldn't appeal a Friday circuit court order that Missouri recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

Two other same-sex marriage cases are pending in Missouri. One is a federal challenge in Kansas City, and the other is a St. Louis case that focuses on city officials who issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples to trigger a legal test of the ban.  

    


Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is shown outside of the Senate Chamber following his farewell speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C., Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010.
September 12, 2014

Former Indiana Gov. Bayh Says No To 2016 Run

Democrat Evan Bayh says he won't make a run in 2016 for a return to the Indiana governor's office.

The former U.S. senator and two-term governor said in a statement Friday that he hoped his decision would enable others to step forward.
 
Bayh had previously said factors he was considering included the strong Republican hold on the state Legislature and whether his style of leadership would be effective.
 
The 59-year-old Bayh retired from the Senate in 2010 but still has nearly $10 million in his campaign fund. He was elected governor in 1988 and 1992.
 
His discussion of running governor had put other possible Democratic candidates in limbo, including former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, who lost a narrow race to Republican Gov. Mike Pence in 2012.


September 09, 2014

Indiana Asks Supreme Court To Settle Gay Marriage

Indiana is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states.

The state Attorney General's office on Tuesday asked the high court to reverse a ruling last week by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which declared Indiana and Wisconsin's bans against same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
 
Indiana says its case offers a perfect opportunity to settle the national debate once and for all.
 
Attorneys for gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana say they will file separate responses within 24 hours.
 
The 7th Circuit last Thursday upheld a federal judge's decision that found Indiana's same-sex marriage ban violated the constitution.
 


September 04, 2014

Appeals Court Rules Against Gay Marriage Bans In Indiana, Wisconsin

 A U.S. appeals court in Chicago has ruled that gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional.  Thursday's decision bumps the number of states where gay marriage will be legal from 19 to 21.

Thursday's decision by a three-judge panel at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous.

The Wisconsin and Indiana cases shifted to Chicago after their attorneys general appealed separate lower court rulings in June tossing the bans. The 7th Circuit stayed those rulings pending its own decision.
 
During oral arguments in August, one judge appointed by a Republican likened same-sex marriage bans to laws once barring interracial marriage.

Judge Richard Posner said they derived from "hate ... and savage discrimination'' of gays.
 
The states argued the prohibitions helped foster a centuries-old tradition.

The ruling sent hundreds of Indiana couples flocking to clerks' offices across the state for marriage licenses, but those were halted when the appeals court granted a state request for a stay.
 
It wasn't immediately clear Thursday whether same-sex marriages would resume.
 
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk says the organization is convinced Young's decision was correct but will wait to see what the next legal steps are.
 
The attorney general's office was reviewing the ruling.


August 20, 2014

Indiana Told To Honor Other States' Gay Marriages

A federal judge has ruled Indiana must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but says the ruling doesn't take effect until the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the matter.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young decided Indiana must recognize the marriage of Michelle and Shannon Bowling of Indianapolis, who were married in Polk County, Iowa, on Jan. 18, 2011.

Shannon Bowling is employed by the Indiana Department of Correction, and couple sued to seek state benefits for Michelle Bowling and her children from a previous relationship.
 
The 7th Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments next week on the state's appeal of a previous ruling by Young throwing out Indiana's same-sex marriage ban.
 
The Indiana attorney general's office had no immediate comment on the latest ruling.


August 06, 2014

Indiana Names First Female Supreme Court Chief Justice

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush has been chosen to lead the court as the state's first female chief justice.

The Judicial Nominating Commission on Wednesday chose Rush to succeed Justice Brent Dickson as the high court's leader over fellow justices Mark Massa, Steven David and Robert Rucker.

Dickson announced in June that he would step down as chief justice but remain an associate justice.

Dickson succeeded Randall Shepard as chief justice in 2012. He faces mandatory retirement when he turns 75 in 2016.
 
Rush is a former Tippecanoe County judge and was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012. She is the first woman to serve on the state Supreme Court since Myra Selby stepped down in 1999 after five years on the bench.


July 30, 2014

Indiana State Fair Serving Liquor For First Time In Nearly 70 Years

Strict limits will be in place when the Indiana State Fair sells alcoholic drinks for the first since 1946 when its 17-day run begins Friday.

The fair says customers will be limited to three beers or three glasses of wine apiece.

They also can sample products as long as they don't have more than 36 ounces of beer or 15 ounces of wine.
 
Spokesman Andy Klotz says the fair wants some controls in place so people are limited in their drinking while they're at the fairgrounds on Indianapolis' north side.
 
The drinks will be served at the Grand Hall across the street from the Coliseum. People must be at least 21 to enter and the drinks must stay inside.

The featured Indiana breweries and wineries will change daily.


July 28, 2014

Mother: Doctor With Ebola Sought To Be Missionary

An Indianapolis woman whose son contracted Ebola while working in Liberia says family members are praying for his recovery.

Dr. Kent Brantly is the medical director for the Ebola care center of the aid group Samaritan's Purse in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

Samaritan's Purse Vice President Ken Isaacs says Brantly is in stable and very serious condition.
 
His mother, Jan Brantly, says he had wanted to be a medical missionary from an early age. She says the Indianapolis Heritage Christian High School graduate began going on mission trips while young and has also worked in Uganda and Tanzania.
 
An Indiana University School of Medicine spokeswoman says Brantly graduated from there in 2009. She says Brantly worked performed humanitarian work while still in medical school, working with impoverished, inner-city residents.
 


July 22, 2014

Court Ruling On Health Coverage Could Affect Illinois, Indiana

Questions remain after Tuesday's contradictory rulings by two federal appeals courts over health insurance subsidies in three dozen states - including Illinois and Indiana.

One court said the federal government cannot offer the subsidies to people in states that use the federally-run insurance marketplace instead of their own, while another court said they could.

About 168,000 Illinois residents qualified for financial subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. According to the White House, policyholders will keep getting that help as the administration sorts out the legal implications.

Get Covered Illinois executive director Jennifer Koehler said the subsidies remain in effect. She said the state is monitoring the court decisions.

Speaking on Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he stands by his decision not to run a state-based exchange

“A number of states across the country that set up their exchanges have abandoned them or begun to unwind them, so I think we made the right decision in that regard,” Pence said.

Pence said he has not read the court opinions and doesn’t want to comment on what the state might do if its citizens are left without the subsidies.

Indiana University professor William Popkin said invalidating the subsidies would have an enormous impact on Indiana’s low-income population, who would no longer be required to purchase health insurance under the law.

“Without the credit, it will be so expensive, given their income level, that they will not be faced with a penalty and the price of the insurance may dissuade them, discourage them from actually buying it,” Popkin said.

Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to take up the case, and until then the Obama administration said it will continue to provide the federal assistance.


July 07, 2014

New Proposal To Legalize Consumer Fireworks In Illinois

The 4th of July may have been punctuated by some fireworks set off in neighborhoods by residents who brought them in from a neighboring state. State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) says Illinoisans should be able to buy those fireworks in their own state.

Rose said he saw a lot of fireworks for sale on recent trips to Kentucky, Wisconsin and Tennessee --- and saw a lot of Illinoisans crossing the state line to buy them. He said Illinois’ ban on most consumer fireworks sales is bad for the state’s economy.

"We're driving people across state lines," said Rose of Illinois' ban on consumer fireworks. "And guess what? It’s not just for fireworks. Because while they’re there, they’re going to buy a tank of gas. Oops, more sales tax for Indiana. They’re going to buy a dinner. Oops, more sales tax for Indiana. So why don’t we start by bringing some of those dollars back to Illinois?"

Rose said he is working on a bill for the spring session with House Deputy Majority Leader Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) that would legalize consumer fireworks. The sales tax revenue they produce would be channeled to rural service agencies, such as ambulance and fire districts and the University of Illinois Extension.

Currently, Iowa is the only neighboring state that shares illinois. ban on most consumer fireworks sales.


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